GOOD RIDDANCE LUFTHANSA

Dear Miles and More Team,

Thank you for your kind note. I have now noticed that only 20.000 miles have been credited back to my account, which means that my flight in the premium economy took 30.000 miles. Not only is this not what I expected, but is really hardly acceptable. I absolutely never wanted to fly premium economy nor have ever asked for it. Accordingly I don’t understand why I was charged for this downgrade. I feel it as yet another step in humiliating your passengers through graceless handling of your “loyalty” program. If your goal is to punish the frequent flyers by giving them miserable experience and ever less miles, making them feel like numbers in cargo transport or worse, you are succeeding very well.

LH M&MWhen I requested upgrade to business class in LA on my long way back to Europe I did so for the experience of business class flight only. I detest the premium economy being introduced in the first place and would never fly nor buy tickets in that class. When my upgrade was disgracefully mishandled and the head of LA station came to downgrade me from the business class cabin, I can assure you it was not pleasurable for me nor kindly handled at all. At the moment I have specifically asked if my miles will be credited back. Once I was assured that this would be the case I accepted to move to my newly assigned seat. I never wanted nor have asked to be placed in premium economy and would not accept to go there against miles deduction as I find the premium economy just to be an unpleasant reminder of what economy class should be in the first place. With wider seat space it is almost acceptable for the coach cabin but it has equally appalling food and barely enough space to recline seat slightly. I have actually specifically rejected to be upgraded to premium economy at the time of check-in when upgrading to business class.

How unpleasant was to be downgraded? A nervous LH employee without a smile and not appearing at all to be on top of the things, her glasses sweaty and checking my documents with all the charm of a prison warden, with a raised voice, and a possibly inebriated passenger in a seat behind me making tasteless sexist jokes about the pretty flight attendants in the economy class being closer to the passengers. I did not enjoy this part at all and was not proud to speak German at the moment.

In short; I did not request to fly in the premium economy at all and the only upgrade I ever wanted was to business class. Upon my specific query I was told I will be credited back my miles and was placed in the class I did not ask for. While a genteel handling of a downgraded passenger might suggest that s/he would be involuntarily upgraded to premium economy in the unpleasant situation of a downgrade, this is apparently something that absolutely never would occur to the Lufthansa Miles and More Team. God forbid upgrading a two decades loyal passenger to a first class, that would be surely against the rules as it would be upgrading me on the last leg of my flight back home just to make me feel a bit better…

Well, dear Team anonymous, this is it. You have destroyed the last vestiges of loyalty that your loyalty program was supposed to bring to this passenger. I now dislike being in contact with a company that seem to constantly strive to give me less and less, starting with the nauseating devaluation of the mileage awards, repeatedly loosing my luggage, ever more appaling food and ever more insignificant wines in coach and no signs of solidarity with passengers whatsoever. Newly introduced fees for reserving window or other specific seats is not what I expect from a company that tries to project its image as premium. Other budget airlines practices are surely around the corner as Lufthansa keeps “upgrading” its customer experience. Charging almost 400 dollars for the Premium economy upgrade and almost 900 for the Business class upgrade from economy for a flight that brings you 1200 status miles with the economy class ticket for the distance of more than 6000 and lasts 12 long hours makes no sense when a good hotel room cost less for 24 hours.

While I was a Senator for six years in the past, I now fly the same or more miles and barely collect enough miles to stay a Frequent flyer. I am often lectured by stern LH staff that I should not ask for anything if I don’t cough up the top money. All this in the modern economy where the owners of businesses like me do not want to spend more money on flying just to make Lufthansa profits bigger. We are careful to spend as little as possible to make our own businesses grow and employ more people. Your company is not prepared to recognize this nor to sustain it through rewarding the arduous time we spend flying and it apparently does not care being partners to successful business like mine at all. We  cannot be partners with a Team like yours.

I am not copying your management with the his response as this was not successful method of communicating with Lufthansa on the previous occasions of my dissatisfaction when such letters remained unanswered. Therefore, I will post this on my personal blog in hope other passengers note it and make their decisions informed. I will also consider placing a variant on my company blog so that our policies and views are seen by our partners and clients.

If you need your miles you can keep them – you cannot disappoint me more as this partial re-credit was so greedy and stingy that a person in my culture cannot fathom this type of unpoliteness masked as rules obeying objectivity. This is cheap beyond comprehension. Taking miles for an upgrade that I didn’t ask for is incomprehensible. If you need further explanations and details of this most unpleasant experience I will be happy to provide it.

Good riddance and enjoy my miles you have so diligently deducted and stingily kept. Bye bye LH

Dear Lufthansa, you just outdid yourself: To add insult to the injury this is the response I’ve got:

Dear Miles & More member, Thank you for contacting us. Regretfully, we cannot reply to your query via this channel. Please use our feedback form under www.miles-and-more.com > Help & Contact > Contact by e-mail > E-mail to the Miles & More Service Team.

Alternatively, you can enter your request into the search field in the top right-hand corner and you will receive suggestions to the most frequently asked questions. Try it for yourself and see – just enter a keyword or even a whole sentence. See you soon on www.miles-and-more.com!

For the sake of good order I wish to thank the Team for crediting back the remaining 30.000 miles after this complaint reached them. I hope they will scrap this horrendous miles for cash approach as it is truly humiliating for the businesses that try to save money by acquiring more affordable tickets. However, the Volkswagen diesel VW aftertaste remains overpowering. I can’t help but notice that since the Miles-and_More program was spun out into a separate business entity the new company is just souring the loyalty program in vain attempts to blind the customers with fancy rewards programs. My wish was to have a generous loyalty program that would enable more frequent upgrades and I don’t care at all about the leather bags, golf and Formula 1 events that seem to be the thtust of the program nowadays.

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